The ECOSYS model is used to estimate ingestion dose in the ARGOS and RODOS decision support systems for nuclear emergency management. It is recommended that nation-specific values for several parameters are used in the model. However, this is generally overlooked when the systems are used in practice. We have estimated first year ingestion doses in two scenarios with wet and dry deposition of 137Cs, using the ECOSYS model. We calculated doses for each country using national dietary data while keeping all other parameters at their default values. These dose calculations were then used to estimate the variation in ingestion doses resulting from the variation in the diets only. The dietary data demonstrated that the average consumption of milk, meat and vegetables varied by a factor of 2–4 among the Nordic countries. For both scenarios, the ingestion doses varied by a factor of about 2, among the countries. For all countries, the model predictions were most sensitive to changes in milk, beef and wheat consumption. The results demonstrate that recent and reliable dietary data are required to reliably estimate ingestion doses.